Protesting students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) got a shot in their arm with one more name coming out in their support. Director Neeraj Ghaywan, whose debut Masaan was much appreciated at the Cannes International Film Festival this year, believes the ongoing protest of the students against actor Gajendra Chauhan's appointment as new chairman is being "pointlessly politicised".
Students need someone inspiring and Chauhan is not the right person for the job, Ghaywan said.
"I believe it is pointlessly being politicised from either of the ideologies. It is not about ideologies at all. The bone of contention of the whole matter is that students in an academic background specifically need to be inspired by someone.
"Chauhan is a nice man... he has got his credentials right but he has not got the credentials for that (being inspiring)," he said.
Drawing his own life's parallel with the students' demands, Ghaywan said he was inspired by director Anurag Kashyap to take the plunge into showbiz from a stable corporate career. "I wouldn't have done it if it was an unknown filmmaker....it (FTII protest) is the same thing," he said.
A meeting between the students' representative body and the information and broadcasting ministry was held early this month over the issue. However, the ministry refused to change its decision about the appointment. The protest has been going on for over a month now. Many Bollywood celebrities have expressed their opinion on the issue, with some siding with the students.
Ghaywan was promoting Masaan in the city ahead of its pan-India release on July 24. The film, set in Varanasi, takes audiences to the dark side of Indian society through the lives of two women and how their life coincides at some point. There are ghats, scenic locales with river in the backdrop as the movie moves forward with a holy sense.
The film's lead Richa Chadha, Vicky Kaushal and Ghaywan worked on Kashyap's critically acclaimed Gangs of Wasseypur. While Ghaywan and Vicky were assistant directors, Richa was one of the female leads.
Masaan, which also stars Sanjay Mishra and newcomer Shweta Tripathi, won the Promising Future Prize and the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Award at Cannes this year.